We’re pleased to have a guest blog from Seth Steinman at Upserve—one of our POS partners—covering some of the important things to consider before opening a bar.
Congratulations! You’ve finally made the decision to open your own bar. Whether it has been years in the industry in the making, a retirement dream come true, or something in between, it’s time for you to start taking the steps you need to make your idea a reality.
But what are those steps exactly? While the specifics will vary based on dozens of factors, we’ve compiled the first 5 steps that you should consider before opening. Because let’s face it, plenty of people are learning as they go and that’s always easier with a little help along the way.
1. Pick Your Bar’s Name
First things first, you need a name. Everything from the licenses you’ll be applying for to the marketing materials you’ll create depend on the name you choose. While you have likely had ideas rolling around in your head for a while, it’s important to vet them and go through a naming process.
As George Root explains in Small Business, “Your bar name should be easy to remember and let potential customers know what kind of bar you have.” You won’t want to choose anything that’s already taken or anything that’s too similar to another restaurant in your area or that’s simply too generic. If you’ve got the cash, it can only help to bring in outside branding and legal professionals. The more you invest now, the more you can save yourself from having to go through a more in-depth rebranding process down the line after realizing that the name you chose isn’t quite right for you.
2. Craft a Cocktail List
The fun part! This is what bartenders dream about when they think about opening their own bar and you finally get to do it! According to Seven Fifty Daily, there are a few things to keep in mind as you start your beverage creation list:
- Don’t exceed the limitations of your space and staff—figure out how much ice you can really manage and how skilled your staff is.
- Use familiar ingredients that aren’t intimidating in at least a few drinks on the menu if you want to broaden your guests’ horizons, especially if you’re located in a place where craft cocktails are a newer phenomenon.
- Ensure the most popular drink is also the most profitable. Think about your pricing strategy and if there are any ways you can save money without sacrificing quality.
3. Get a Liquor License
Each state has a department that handles liquor licensing. It’s a bit different in each state, but a quick internet search should direct you to the right department. Make sure you have the details of your soon-to-be new bar on hand—the exact type of bar you’re opening will affect the type of bar license you get in most cases. Last, plan to wait—it can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days for your liquor license to finally arrive.
4. Buy Technology
Technology is an investment in your bar’s future, and will save you money in the long-run. Plus, with new cloud-based technology, up-front costs are pretty low. The first decision should be which type of bar POS system you’re going to use. This system is the core of your business and will affect everything from your inventory tracking to sales analysis. You should look for an easy-to-use system that is capable of scaling up as your restaurant does. It’s also important to verify that it integrates with other companies or suppliers that you may use.
SynergySuite Note: We agree that technology is key. As a new bar, you may not yet have many other integrations for your POS, but look for a system that integrates with restaurant and bar management systems so you can have a seamless integration as your business grows.
5. Hire and Train Your Staff
In any customer-focused business, your staff are the face of your establishment and can be the deciding factor between whether your bar fails or succeeds. An experienced and well-trained staff will make their customers happy and keep them coming back for more. However, it’s not all about hiring people who already know everything. If you put in the time and effort necessary to develop a stellar restaurant training program, you can hire people with very little experience and turn them into bartending pros in no time.